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Archive for the ‘Dairy Life’ Category

Wow…here we are February 2015. I can not believe that my last post was on 4/29/14. I am so sorry that I have been away from my blog for so long. As I have said before, I love blogging. I believe that blogging gave me the confidence to start Dairy Goddess Farmstead Cheese and Milk. I never would believe that it would continue to grow and become what it has today. I am still running the dairy and Dairy Goddess. I am spread very thin and so the time for blogging has been difficult. 2014 was a great and exciting year. So many wonderful changes have blessed our life. I will break down the past year to get you up to speed.

January 2014 – After 2 months of marriage, my daughter Tara, also my right hand in running the daily business of Dairy Goddess found out that she and her husband Shane would be having a baby. My first grand child. I can not tell you the joy this brought to all of us. I was craving a new baby to bless us and the start of the 5th generation on our farm. Tara announces pregnancy

 

February 2014- We began making our California Style Curds in Plain and Seasoned. They are great as a snack and they melt beautifully and make a great addition to your favorite “cheesy” recipes.

March 2014- We began raising free range chickens! What started out as a hobby for Tony, he LOVES little chicks, actually any baby critter steals his heart. He kept bring home little chicks and we all know what happens…they grow up…. Dairy Goddess Farmstead Eggs was born…”We love’m like our Cows”  eggs in carton

 

April 2014- Tony and I celebrated our 31st Wedding Anniversary. We also found out the our 1st grandchild was going to be a GIRL!

Tara Baby Cake announcement

May 2014- We got our 3rd Refrigeration van, or as I like to call it…Chariot for Dairy Goddess to transport her goodness!

DG Van 3

 

June 2014- A.J. finds out that he was accepted as a transfer student for Veterinarian Medicine at Oklahoma State University. We were all so thrilled that he would be closer to home.  We knew at that moment that we would be able to go and visit which we did in October for OSU’s homecoming. What a blast that was and we were so lucky to get to go with my cousins, the Walton’s. Their son Brandon is completing his undergrad there.

OKC AJ OSU homecoming 2014

 

July 2014- Dairy Goddess Farmstead Cheese wins 1st place in the flavored-fresh cheese category  for our “Valley” (Peaches, Almonds, & Honey) Fromage Blanc, at the American Cheese Society Awards in Sacramento, CA. What an honor! To win among the many other great entries made us so very proud.   ACS Cheese Awards

August 2014- Dairy Goddess celebrated it’s 4th year in business.

September 2014- It was all hustle and bustle for Dairy Goddess as we prepared for Tara and Shane’s baby to arrive. Tara does so much for DG so we needed our ducks in a row. We were all getting so excited to meet Baby Girl Rodrigues!

October 2014- Finally on the 8th of October, God blessed us with our newest Little Goddess, Delilah Dolores Rodrigues. She was perfect. She completely stole our hearts and is the very center of our life. Barbara and Delilah Hospital

November 2014- It was only a month after Delilah joined our clan but we had prepared and completed a 3rd Party Audit for Dairy Goddess Farmstead Cheese and Milk. It was a two day inspection to make sure we are doing everything possible to bring our customers the best quality products produced in compliance of the state and major store chains. We also decided to upgrade our website and invite you to take a look at it. We are very proud of how it turned out.

December 2014- I had made the tough decision to leave my Board of Director seat for the California Milk Advisory Board I loved serving the dairy farmers in California. It was important to me to be a voice for my fellow dairymen and to do my best to direct that our milk marketing dollars were being spent thoughtfully and assuring their hard earned money was being put to good use to market the milk that they produce. As Dairy Goddess has grown I realized that I would not be able to give 100 percent to that seat’s responsibility. We had a beautiful dinner and so many kind words were said and I truly felt appreciated for the 6 years that I had served.  CMAB apprecation certificate

January 2015- We started 2015 with a bang! We baptized our sweet Delilah and then were off to San Francisco for the Winter Fancy Food Show this is the largest food and beverage show on the West Coast. It was amazing and felt very successful. We could not believe how many fabulous products from around the world that were there and how large the show itself was. We were proud to be a part of it. Fancy food show 2015

 

One of my New Years Resolutions is to blog more…I promise to work on that. I love sharing our life with you. I appreciate you taking the time to visit this blog and my website. I would love for you to like my Facebook Page too. That is a quick way to stay in touch with our latest shenanigans!

One last thought. We are still in a terrible drought here in California. We have had a bit of rain and hoping for a wet February. We ask for you to keep us in your thoughts and prayers as all of Agriculture in California is suffering and if we do not get rain and also reform for water in this state it will affect us all. This drought is truly a crisis.

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Non-Homogenized Lightly Pasteurized "Cream Top" Milk Nectar From Our Dairy

Non-Homogenized Lightly Pasteurized “Cream Top” Milk
Nectar From Our Dairy

I drink whole milk and eat full-fat yogurt, cream cheese, and sour cream. Sure, full-fat dairy products taste better than the skim/fat-free versions, but I don’t eat them for the taste. I eat full-fat dairy because it’s better for my health and my weight.

Yep, you heard me right: I eat dairy products with all the fat god gave ‘em, and I do it because it’s good for me.

Here’s why:

1. Our bodies cannot digest the protein or absorb the calcium from milk without the fat.

2. Vitamins A and D are also fat-soluble. So you can’t absorb them from milk when all the fat has been skimmed off. (This makes fortified skim milk the biggest sham of all — you can pump fat-free milk full of a year’s supply of vitamins A and D, but the body can’t access them).

3. Milk fat contains glycosphingolipids, types of fats linked to immune system health and cell metabolism.

4. Contrary to popular belief, low-fat and fat-free diets do not help prevent heart disease, and science has now revealed that the link between saturated fat (long villainized as a cause of heart disease) and heart disease is tenuous at best.

5. In fact, studies now show that eating saturated fat raises good cholesterol — the kind of cholesterol you want and need in your body.

6. The world’s healthiest foods are whole foods — foods that have not been processed. Why? The nutrients in whole foods have a natural synergy with one another — that is, they work best in and are most beneficial to the body when they are taken together (not when they are isolated in, say, beta-carotene supplements of Vitamin C capsules). So when you pull some or all of the fat out of milk, you throw its nutritional profile out of whack. Basically, you discard all of the health benefits when you discard the fat.

7. And last but definitely not least: healthy dietary fat will NOT make you fat. We’ve been taught for years that dietary fat is the root of all evil. But we need healthy fat in our diet for proper body composition and long-term weight maintenance. The key factor here is knowing the difference between good fats and bad fats (for more on good and bad fats and the role healthy fat plays in weight maintenance..

A final note: When it comes to whole milk, you should also drink nonhomogenized when you can. Homogenization is “the technique of crushing milkfat globules into droplets too small to rise to the surface in a cream layer,” writes Anne Mendelson in Milk: The Surprising Story of Milk Through the Ages (Knopf, 2008). Homogenization offered two big advantages to the dairy industry: (1) the abolition of the “creamline,” as it’s called, made it possible to package milk in more convenient [read: disposable] cardboard packaging instead of traditional glass bottles and (2) homogenizing made it possible for a commercial dairy to “calculate the amount of fat in incoming milk, completely remove it, and homogenize it back into milk in any desired proportion…In effect, ‘whole milk’ could now be whatever the industry said it was.”

To put it more bluntly: homogenized whole milk isn’t whole. The dairy-processing industry decided that whole milk should be milk with 3.25% fat (raw milk straight from the cow averages between 4 – 5.5% fat). That way, no matter what cow produced the milk, after homogenization all the milk would taste the same.

When you buy homogenized milk, you’re buying a whole food that isn’t whole — it’s had it’s fat removed, evened out, and injected back into it in an amount less than what appears in nature. So choose whole milk, skip homogenization, and enjoy!
By Laine Bergeson, Experience Life

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Well, our busy season is upon us. Many of our seasonal markets are well on their way. I am also getting the opportunity to speak with the many store managers regarding my dairy and our products. As always we love to share our products and get to know our customers. We always are happy to receive and answer lots of questions regarding our farmstead cheese and milk.

One of my favorites is “WHAT MAKES YOUR MILK SO SPECIAL???” (I want to joke and say DUUUUHHH a “Dairy Goddess made it”…LOL)

Well, the truth is my milk is special and different from most milks on the market. Not only is it because of our beautiful cows that God entrusted with us. Nor the fact that they are monitored around the clock to make sure they are happy and receiving the freshest most nutritious diet, along clean fresh water.

The main difference in our milk is  the way we process it and I am happy to share that with you!

Dairy Goddess milk is non-homogenized, which means the butterfat molecules in our milk are left in their natural state. These relatively large milk-fat globules bind with nutrients (like vitamins A & D) found in the liquid portion of milk. The nutrient-carrying globules travel to the stomach and gut where they release the nutrients for use by the body. Milk fat, in it’s natural state, easily makes its way through the entire human digestive tract.

Homogenized milk molecules on the other hand, are unnaturally small and misshapen. They haphazardly attach to nutrients, but unfortunately, pass out of the digestive tract and directly into the blood stream before the nutrients can be digested.

Further, the destruction of milk-fat globules can lead to hardening of the arteries. While this is contrary to popular belief, some noted researchers and medical experts believe this to be the case. Robert Cohen, Executive Director of the Dairy Education Board, wrote in his article “Homogenized Milk: Rocket Fuel for Cancer,” in 2007, that the smaller, disfigured milk-fat globules produced during homogenization act like capsules for substances that bypass digestion. Not only are important nutrients lost into the blood stream, but hormones and pesticides used to treat cows and their feed, make their way to the human blood stream as well.

Thomas E. Levy, M.D., further argues in his book on nutrition, that some enzymes are absorbed into the blood stream as well. One particular enzyme, xanthine oxidase (XO), reaches the bloodstream where it replaces a substance called plasmalogen in the arteries, and directly promotes hardening of the artery walls.

But perhaps the most burning question is, “What danger do I risk if I drink Non-Homogenized Milk.” The answer is “none.” That’s right, homogenization has no known health benefits. Nor is it required by law. Milk is homogenized simply to give it a balanced consistency – more pleasing to the eye and no need to shake it. Milk in its natural state has a cream layer that floats on top of the liquid portion of the milk. Anyone who grew up on a farm, or before homogenization was common, will tell you that the cream is the most desirable part! And, as you are now aware, the cream also carries huge health benefits.

Dairy Goddess only uses Low Temperature / Vat Pasteurization

Dairy Goddess is one of two dairies in California to use a low-temperature vat pasteurization method. This ensures our milk retains a majority of its enzymes, which are crucial for proper digestion and good health. Dairy Goddess is the only dairy processing a Cream Top Chocolate Milk with vat pasteurization in the state!

Pasteurization of commercially-sold milk is required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ensure that harmful bacteria in milk is eliminated. Standard pasteurization methods utilize high-heat, high-volume methods that unfortunately kill beneficial enzymes as well as bacteria. Some milk is even ultra-pasteurized to the point that it can be stored without being refrigerated. Some in the dairy and health industries refer to ultra-pasteurized milk as “dead milk” because everything — harmful and beneficial – have been killed.

Dairy Goddesses low-temperature vat pasteurization method allows us to heat our milk at a lower temperature for a longer period of time, eliminating harmful micro-organisms but leaving valuable enzymes untouched.

During our pasteurization process, milk is divided into small batches and processed in our vat. The milk is heated in the vat to a temperature of 145o F (63o C). (The chocolate milk is heated to 150F) It is held at this constant temperature for 30-minutes.  The milk is then cooled in a ‘plate cooler’. It is run quickly through small stainless steel tubing that is surrounded by cold water. The milk is cooled quickly and put directly in our cooler and ready to be delivered, fresh to you!

So that’s it…less processed. More natural. The way things are supposed to be. We have been so geared to processing and long shelf life’s we don’t realize what value to us, nutritionally, we are giving up. Get back to basics…You will love the taste and your tummy will too!

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Women In Dairy Conference – November 7, 2012

Women in Dairy Pennsylvania – Penn State Extension

Last year we had the pleasure of meeting a wonderful group of dairy farmers from Pennsylvania that were visiting California dairy farms. Our dairy was one of their stops. Tony and I shared our dairy and our cheese plant and the debut our chocolate milk. I had the opportunity to speak to them and shared our struggles with the dairy business and operating a dairy products plant.

A couple months later I received an email asking if I would be interested in being the Keynote speaker at their Women in Dairy Conference being held in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

I reminded them that I was not a professional speaker. She said that it was the ladies from the tour that suggested me as the speaker. I was flattered and frightened at the same time.

They also asked if I could sit on a panel for blogging. That, I thought, no problem. I feel comfortable with blogging. I admit I do not know a lot of the technical things associated with blogging but I do feel comfortable sharing my message and I realize the importance of getting your story out and not let others speak for you. Especially in the dairy industry.

I agreed to do it. I admit, a bit reluctantly. It seemed so far away. I really didn’t know where I would be with my business. I didn’t know how I was going to manage to get away. I didn’t know how to put together a keynote address. I had seen plenty of wonderful speakers in my day. I was especially moved when I had seen Dr. Scott Vernon from Cal Poly SLO give his keynote address at the California Women in Agriculture convention earlier this year. I was challenged and I like that. I decided to do it!

Months before, and up to just before departure I was agonizing over my decision. One day it was, “how exciting” the next day was “what the heck did I get myself into”. I was worried about letting those ladies down. I knew it was too late to back out now. I dug my heels in and resolved to do my best.

I would hole myself up and write, rewrite, write and write some more. It is very rewarding putting your life on paper. I also created my first power point! Accepting challenges and learning new things, isn’t that what life is about?

Penn State Extension is an outreach program of the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences. They provide educational programs for dairy producers, their employees, and advisers. (click here to see the great programs that they offer) They do a great job. They are professional and work very hard. It is very clear that they like what they do and they like working with these dairy farmers. I felt their devotion and respect for the dairy farmers that they served.

There is nothing easy about getting to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania from Fresno, California. I departed at night on November 5th. I arrived, after a couple of plane changes, in the morning of November 6th. It was a beautiful day. It was a beautiful place. I would not let my weary body get me down. I had to go explore. Explore I did. I want to thank Unique Limousine of Harrisburg, PA. I called them at the last minute. They asked what I was interested in seeing. Offered me a very fair price and picked me up right away to escort me on my adventure. I got to visit the Central Market in Lancaster, PA It is the oldest, continuously ran, farmers market in the nation. A perfect stop for me right? I enjoyed introducing myself to the farmers/vendors there and they were kind and warm. I even got a hug from a lovely Mennonite vendor. I was driven through the beautiful countryside enjoying the farms and got a glimpse of Amish life. I drove through Hershey, PA, the “sweetest town in America” and yes the street lights are the shape of Hershey’s kisses. The whole time, as I was enjoying this, I kept telling myself how much Tony would love to see this and vowed to come back and spend more time.

After my full day I got to enjoy dinner with some of the Penn State Extension team. We also went to a pre-conference reception that evening.  It was nice to have this “warm-up” because that moment was here and there was no turning back now.

After a surprisingly good nights sleep, that moment, that I had agonized for so long, was now here. I admit, I was glad that I was up first. When I was done I felt great relief and satisfaction. Mission accomplished! I had wonderful feed back and response and felt embraced. One very nice young lady said that I had “set the tone” for the conference. I was happy that I did not disappoint. These are hard-working dairy women. They are busy working on the farms, milking cows, raising calves and taking care of their families. I wanted it to be worth their time and I didn’t want to disappoint the ladies that suggested me for the job.

I was happy to share my life. I believe they realized, like I did, that even though we might run our dairies differently. We might have more or less cows to take care of. We share to same goals and struggles in our lives. At the end of the day our lives are consumed with the care and well-being of not only our families but our animals.

Sitting on the blogging panel was fun. It is always fun to share the rewards and challenges of blogging. I got to sit on the panel with Raechel Sattazahn. She did a great job sharing her blog, Go Beyond the Barn Blog please check it out. Her husband is a guest writer and they do a wonderful job sharing our agricultural story.  Lisa Perrin from Mid Atlantic Dairy Association did a great job as the panel facilitator.

I got to enjoy the rest of the day mingling, eating good food, and taking in the other breakout sessions. I met too many wonderful people to name individually. I  hope they know how much I appreciated my time with all of them.

During the day I had the opportunity to meet Jessica Armacost. She is the director of the Pennsylvania Dairy Princess Program and Promotion Service . They have a very impressive program. The girls are very active in promoting dairy in their state. She had with her two of her princesses, Callie and Heather. These two lovely princesses gave a beautiful “milk toast” at lunch. They attended the whole conference and were staying on for other appearances.  They were staying the night and asked if I would like to join them for dinner.

What a great evening. She drove us into the town of Harrisburg and indulged me in some picture-taking of this beautiful town. We ate at a local restaurant Appalachian Brewing Company. It was an evening of good food and good company.  I so appreciate their invitation. This was a perfect ending to a wonderful experience.

I want to thank Dr. Lisa Holden, associate professor, Penn State Dairy and Animal Science and Laurie Porter for their efforts in arranging this conference. They make it seem easy. Congratulations to you both and everyone who made this day the success that is was.

I made it back home without delay. I was comforted to know that my cheese/milk and dairy business ran just fine without me. Tara and Tony do a great job and did it all themselves without complaint. It is I, that do not know what I would do without them. Thank you both for “holding down the fort”. I love you both.

Again, Pennsylvania Women in Dairy and Penn State Extension, my deepest gratitude for this opportunity. Until we meet again….

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Hello everyone….I can not believe it has been over a month since my last post.

Why is it the things you love the most are the things that get neglected? I think this is the longest I have gone without a post and I have missed it.

Sadly the dairy industry is still suffering here in California only to be made worse by the droughts in the east that have driven up our feed prices while our milk prices have remained low. The future milk prices are improving but for so many it is not going to be enough. We have lost 100’s of dairies with more to go and no one seems to see the crisis in this. Our leaders have been ineffective and we drive through our valley and see generations of dairies empty. It is so very sad. Here is a local article in the Fresno Bee explaining what has been going on and how dairies are on the brink . We continue to pray and work hard to hold on for now. Prayer and hope is all that we have.

As far as Dairy Goddess we are doing OK. Business is steady and growing. With the generosity of so many we have managed to obtain milk crates and refrigerated storage.

Cold Storage

Even more exciting is we have gotten a refrigerated van. It’s very used but seems to be working well and with that we can now deliver milk to our distributor and stores so much easier. Thank you God.

Refrigeration Van

Since my last post I have had some wonderful things happen. My daughter has become engaged to her boyfriend Shane. We love him very much and could not be more excited. They are a wonderful couple and he comes from a great family. I am even more excited to think that I am a step closer to becoming a Grandma some day…LOL…no pressure kids!

Along with all of this A.J. made his departure to Grenada for Vet school. We are so happy for him and his decision to follow his dream of becoming a Veterinarian but we miss him so much on the farm. I also miss him coming in the morning and asking me for something to eat. We are so proud of him. It was big decision and it is very far away. He is loving the experience so far very much. Check out how beautiful St. George’s University is.

We just had the one year anniversary of my Mother’s passing (8/28) There is not a day that goes by that I do not think of her. I sure wish she was here to see Tara become engaged and A.J. heading off to University. I know she is with us in spirit, but I just would love to hear her laugh and sing again.

Sadly, this week we have had  the passing of my Uncle Carl. He was 93 and had a wonderful life. I feel blessed that he was in ours. He in now in peace and I know my mother was there waiting for him.

This is life…joy among sadness. So I must tell myself to take the time to enjoy every moment of those joys and savor them.

I want to take this time to extend my gratitude to the many people who support us and what we do. You make everything worth while. YOU are the blessings I am so very grateful for. God bless each and everyone of you. Please continue your prayers for us!

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Back in BusinessWell, it seems like when all I crave is peace and a life filled without drama I get thrown something unexpected.

Last Friday, June 29th we received a call from the CDFA regarding a “positive” on a random test done on a sample of our chocolate milk. It was due to an improper pasteurization. We are meticulous regarding our procedure we realized we had an immediate problem. We retraced our steps and due to a hose holding a bit of milk from our transfer from making regular to chocolate. This small amount did not get pasteurized upsetting the whole batch.

There is silver lining to this, first off, YOUR FOOD SAFETY. I, of course wish it wasn’t on my test :). You though, as a consumer should know that your food is tested constantly and I know I am grateful for that. Secondly, as we were only in our trial period and we were able to fix this problem before it actually hit the stores and a larger reach. Third, NO ILLNESSES occurred.

My immediate fear was for my customers. Not only for their well being, but also their trust in Dairy Goddess and our products.

I did not sleep thinking about what will happen next. What is going to happen in dealing with the state and what will my customers think. How will they react?

My sleeplessness replayed over and over again watching the demise of my business. Why is it always that it always feels worse in the middle of the night???

Monday came and our first test was good yet I knew that it was going to be made public. Announced for the nation to see, fear of the unknown. What’s going to happen next?

We work as usual. Confident that our issue was resolved. We make or cheese, our milk and our chocolate milk. On Tuesday we took our final sample in to test. Mind you, this is the day before the 4th of July holiday. My hats off to the CDFA staff and Sierra Dairy Labs for helping us to get this cleared and a verbal OK so that we can sell on Thursday as scheduled with out missing a beat.

The news hit! Friends rallied around. I received words of encouragement. People said “hang in there”, “you’ll be OK”. My favorite, “you’ve got lemons make lemonade”. On Facebook were posts like “we can’t wait to get more of that chocolate milk”.

I was OK…

On the 4th of July my phone rings. A major distributor is interested in my products.  They want to meet. (I did disclose that I just had got off recall the day before. He chuckled and said that “it happens, good to work out the quirks”).

What a difference a day makes! I prayed a word of thanks to God. (See the Hanford Sentinel’s story)

It hits me, I am still in business. I need more space to grow. I need refrigeration at my plant.  I need a refrigeration van to transport. Business is good but it is capital that I need. I know that it nearly impossible as the dairy industry is still struggling to get back on track.

I got an idea…a fundraiser, HELP DAIRY GODDESS SOAR Crazy I know, but there is so much I need. I need milk crates. I need more bottles, labels, supplies, space etc, etc, etc.

So I put myself out there…reaching out. I have already received such generous response. I am a blessed women. If you would like to help check out my “GoFundMe” button. I know these times are difficult for so many people. The main thing I ask is for your prayers. God hears our prayers.

“Pray, hope and don’t worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer” – Saint Pio of Pietrelcina. These are the words that comfort me. I hope they comfort you too!

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We are nearly at the last day of June is Dairy Month. I could not go the whole month with out posting about my favorite month of the year.

Mind you, I have been ‘celebrating’ in high style. We have been busying ourselves with our cheese and our new non-homogenized / lightly pasteurized whole chocolate and regular milk.

We have started three new farmers markets in West Hollywood also in Mar Vista and North Hollywood. We have felt very welcome down south.

Here is some of the press that we have received. ABC Channel 30 LA and the LA Times .

Also this month was our first cheese delivery to Lassen’s Natural Foods and Vitamins. We are in 8 of there stores. Dairy Goddess is urging you to support our new customers.

In honor of dairy month I hope you take a moment to reflect on what the real reason is for this special month. Dairy Council has done a great job sharing the Secrets, Stories and Facts of America’s Favorite Natural Beverage. Please take a moment and enjoy these milk facts .

Well now off to July and guess what? Yep, it’s Ice Cream Month So keep the celebration and enjoy plenty of dairy products.

Party till the cows come home!

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